Most girls dream of their wedding day from the moment they are old enough to understand what a wedding is. That dream continues up to the moment she gets to plan her very own fairy-tale day. Maybe you just got engaged and in that case – CONGRATULATIONS and now you find yourself lost in all the possibilities and choices. Maybe your dream wedding has always been a beautiful ceremony on a beach with the sand between your toes… If that's you, then read on!
There is no doubt that beach weddings are fabulous, but they can also be notoriously tricky to pull off considering the range of beach-related factors to keep in mind. That is of course apart from everything else that forms part of the normal planning of a wedding. However, being aware of the possible stumbling blocks will go a long way in helping you avoid them and ensure your blissful beach bash, is nothing short of perfect!
These are our 14 top tips for a top-class romantic beach wedding:
1. Make sure you have all the necessary legal permissions
Most beaches are public beaches and local authorities do require that you have a permit to make use of a public beach for your wedding. These permits may also take time to acquire so best not leave this for the last minute. Your wedding planner or the venue should be able to guide you on how to go about it all.
2. Beaches used for weddings are not private by default
If you would rather not have random strangers going about their holiday business in the background of your wedding ceremony (and your photos), find out about cordoning off a large enough section of the beach for long enough in advance so you’ll at least have the illusion of a secluded, private beach setting. Make sure you avoid the unfortunate task of asking holiday-makers to move their beach umbrellas so you can set up your wedding decor. A good alternative is to plan your wedding day outside of the popular holiday season or during a quiet time of day.
3. Planning the Ceremony and the Reception on the Beach?
Having your ceremony on the beach is one thing, but having your reception on the beach as well poses an entirely new set of challenges. Questions to ask would include: Is alcohol consumption allowed on the beach? Is food and cooking allowed on the beach? Do you have a curfew to clear the beach? Are there adequate restroom facilities for your guests nearby or do you need to budget for portable facilities?
4. Calm the frock down (Casual dress code is essential – even for the bride)
It should be a no-brainer, but wearing high heels and a ball gown on the beach is about as good an idea as training seagulls to take part in your procession. Avoid heels for the most part and rather opt for sandals or going barefoot. As for the dress, make sure it’s light and easy to move around in. Another tricky consideration is your veil and what to do with your hair. If you are keen on a veil, try keeping it low-key. As for your hair and makeup, an up-do ensures that your hair stays perfectly in place regardless of what the beach conditions might throw your way. The humidity, the ocean spray and the breeze are enemies of great looking hair and makeup, so make sure your look is properly “beach-proofed”. Once you’ve walked down the aisle, you’re living the best day of your life and runny makeup or flat hair should be the furthest thing from your mind!
5. Check the weather & make sure you have a plan B
Don’t think of it as “being negative” or “expecting the worst”, think of it as an insurance policy – you’re giving yourself the peace of mind that, regardless of mother nature’s mood on the day, nothing will interrupt or spoil your wedding day. Make sure that you are aware of the weather patterns for that time of year and then prepare for all possible weather scenarios (even if it’s only mentally).
6. Choose flowers that can handle the sun & heat
Certain flowers may not take too kindly to heat and extended periods of direct sunlight. Make sure you choose flowers that can withstand both heat, sunlight and strong breezes. The last thing you want is to end up with wilted brown flowers on your wedding photos.
7. Comfortable guests look better in photos than uncomfortable ones
Make sure you offer your guests all the protection they might need from the elements: Umbrellas, sunglasses, blankets, towels and sunscreen – depending on the weather. TOP TIP: Have a “Dust off” station with baby powder at the reception area that will allow your guests to comfortably dust off and enjoy the rest of the wedding without sand stuck all over them. Also, consider setting up a “shoe station” where your guests can leave their fancy shoes before going onto the beach if they want.
8. Know the tide
Make sure you choose a date where the tide is suitable at the time of your wedding. Otherwise you might end up with the ocean becoming the ultimate wedding crasher. Your venue or wedding planner should be aware of the tides and will be able to advise you on the best time for setup and ceremony. A reminder that even though being the bride has its many perks, being “fashionably late” for your beach wedding will only eat into your perfect window of opportunity with the tides.
9. Make use of local suppliers
Having favours or decorations imported from home if the wedding is on a far off tropical island, may seem like you are saving some time and money, but make sure you know the import laws of that country. You definitely don't want your décor or wedding favours stuck in customs or lost somewhere along the way. Try using local caterers, planners and equipment to ensure everyone is there on the day and not perhaps stuck on a delayed flight on their way to your wedding.
10. Make your vows heard
You’ve spent hours writing and rehearsing your vows, make sure that they are not drowned out in the moment by the deafening sound of the waves. Invest in the necessary sound equipment so grandma doesn’t miss a word. Some beaches may be regulated in terms of how sound equipment is set up as well as their volume levels so make sure you have the necessary permits. Don’t forget to inform your sound team of these regulations as well.
11. Consider the environment
You are lucky enough to get married in the lap of mother nature so the least you can do is to make sure that you don’t leave a mess! Use biodegradable confetti and avoid balloons that may pop and end up left behind. Make sure that you have a committed clean-up crew in place to clear everything wedding-related off the beach afterwards. There are usually rules and regulations around this on the beaches so make sure you get all the necessary info beforehand.
12. Choose the right time of day for the perfect ceremony and photos
The success of your beach wedding will hinge largely on the time of day you choose to get married. It’s one thing to time the ceremony and photo session to happen during perfect light and time of day, but don’t forget that you also need to be mindful of high tide, the weather as well as how busy the beach might be at the time. If you can, make sure you visit your wedding beach during different times of the day so you know when there will be the least amount of holiday makers around. It is a bit of a juggling act, but getting it right is not as far-fetched as it might seem at first!
14. Relax… as far a possible
Beach weddings are more stressful than your average wedding, but if that will mean you’ll be a stressed-out Bridezilla, perhaps you should think twice. If you are a “go with the flow” kind of person, a beach wedding will probably suit you perfectly.
Beach weddings are magical, beautiful and memorable and despite the planning twists and turns, it is an incredibly romantic alternative to a traditional wedding. Exceed your wildest wedding dreams and get in touch with a member of our island wedding team to start planning your idyllic beach wedding today!